Skilled Technicians Provide Essential Services - Engine Builder Magazine

Skilled Technicians Provide Essential Services

As the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and historically high rates of unemployment, skilled technicians are needed and doing jobs essential to Americans’ well-being and economic recovery.

This indispensable workforce includes graduates of Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) Mooresville, N.C. campus, NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech), who service the vehicles, truck fleets and machinery that fuel crucial industries, carry essential goods and supplies and support vital infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response,” lists the transportation industry and maintenance repair technicians as essential, and these skilled employees participate in every stage of the nation’s supply chain.

One of NASCAR Tech’s recent graduates, Price Irons, relocated from Alabama to pursue his dream of working in the automotive industry. He had the opportunity to work as an intern at Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions, one of UTI’s industry partners. Despite his anxiety about graduating amid a pandemic and soaring unemployment, Irons learned he’d landed a full-time job there before he even graduated.

Irons now works as a Quality Technician, ensuring that parts produced for use in the aerospace, defense, medical and automotive industries meet exact specifications.

“I feel blessed to be able to start a new career during this hectic time,” said Irons. “This gives me a great opportunity to learn, get more experience under my belt and see where it can take me. I know this is an industry where you can make a name for yourself if you put your head down and work hard, like we were encouraged to do at NASCAR Tech.”

Just as crucial to the supply chain are the industrial loaders and forklifts that move goods and supplies on and off trucks, trains, ships and loading docks and are used in warehouses and retail environments. Dustin Bogan, a field service manager at Crown Equipment Corporation, leads a team of field technicians who service and repair this equipment.

“It’s a job I’m fortunate to have because forklifts are in demand to move virtually everything, including essential products like food and medical supplies,” said Bogan. “The skills taught at NASCAR Technical Institute help tremendously as a forklift technician, and that’s why a large percentage of our local workforce is comprised of their graduates.”

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that, by 2026, there will be more than 1.2 million job openings in the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries. 1 To help reach that total, the transportation industry will need to fill more than 120,000 technician job openings annually, on average.

“There’s never been a better time to work in the skilled trades, especially transportation, as jobs are abundant, the earning potential is significant and the opportunities are strong,” said Jennifer Bergeron, campus president, NASCAR Technical Institute. “With high unemployment and economic uncertainty, people are looking for stable and rewarding careers, and we are proud to help our graduates find fulfilling jobs that keep our country running.”

NASCAR Tech’s Mooresville, N.C. campus offers the standard Universal Technical Institute core automotive training program, as well as CNC Machining Technology, Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training with Ford, Nissan and Mopar, and an optional 15-week elective to train students preparing for a career in motorsports, where students receive hands-on training in engines, fabrication, welding, aerodynamics and pit crew essentials. Through NASCAR Tech’s elite Spec Engine program, select students have the opportunity to build engines that will compete in NASCAR-sanctioned races.

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